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Samsung Group

With emerging-market stock funds, check what's in the tin

When you're built different, in investing, you act different. That's why it's important to check what's in your emerging-market stock fund — even if it's an index fund.

Emerging-markets index funds track different indexes, which can have very different exposure to different parts of the world. And as Brazil, India and other emerging market economies move in increasingly different directions, actively managed funds are looking more distinct as well.

Some managers are avoiding broad swaths of the developing world, and they say their funds have never looked this different from their index-fund rivals.

The big differences in composition can lead to big differences...